Date of Birth:12 Nov 43
FIA Championship Titles:1979
WRC Rally Starts:95
WRC Rally Wins:16
Bjorn Waldegaard, is the Swedish sensation who won the inaugural World Championship for drivers in 1979, and whose rally career spanned four decades.
Waldegaard was born in 1943 and began rallying at home in Sweden, where he took his first national championship in 1967. His first international rally win came in 1969 with a Porsche 911 on the Monte Carlo Rally - a feat he repeated the following year.
Victories followed on a number of other international events, mostly with Porsche, but when the World Rally Championship was established in 1973 Waldegaard was signed as one of the star drivers of the Alitalia-backed works Lancia squad.
A bitter rivalry with fellow Lancia driver Sandro Munari came to a head on the 1976 Rallye San Remo when Waldegaard was asked by the team to surrender a four second advantage over his Italian team-mate. Waldegaard did as they asked, but went on to win the rally anyway and immediately switched teams to Ford.
For the next three years Waldegaard joined Roger Clark and Hannu Mikkola to drive the Ford Escort RS 1800 into rallying history. Waldegaard took three wins in 1977, one in 1978, but had his most successful year in 1979 when he won the first ever World Championship for drivers with the Escort, and two rallies in a Mercedes 450 SLC.
In 1981 Waldegaard began driving for Toyota, beginning an association which lasted until 1992 when he retired from top level competition after breaking his arm in a crash on the Safari Rally.